The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry ( LCCI) has decried the continued neglect of the nation’s non-oil sector, noting that Nigeria, blessed with abundant deposits of solid minerals, has competitive and comparative advantage in its non-oil resources.
The chamber, however, stressed that the sector remained underdeveloped over the years.
The President, LCCI, Dr. Nike Akande, said considering the dwindling global crude oil prices that have largely affected Nigeria’s foreign exchange revenue base, the time to pay close and serious attention to the non-oil sector is now.
Akande who spoke during the public presentation of the 2016 Lagos International Trade Fair (LITF) prospectus, added that Nigeria must also pay close attention to the fiscal side of diversification, maintaining that the nation’s revenue base needs to be better diversified.
“Our tax revenue to GDP ratio is very low. We need to improve on the efficiency of tax administration at all levels of government, without necessarily increasing the tax rates. More than ever before, we need more strategic decisions and policies that will put the economy on the path of economic recovery and social prosperity,” he said.
She noted that the ongoing backward integration efforts of corporate organisations towards sourcing a large part of their raw materials locally should be encouraged, stressing that the Nigerian economy has the capacity to weather the current economic difficulties if the policy contexts are appropriate and robust.
“We have large and vibrant market, large and fast growing population, pool of resourceful entrepreneurs and huge untapped natural resources. We are optimistic that with the creation of an enabling environment, the diversification of the Nigerian economy will be realised sooner than later,” she added.
She however stated that the chamber is presenting the platform of the 2016 LITF for States to exhibit their potentials to potential investors, saying that more than ever before, the States need investors to boost economic activities and support fiscal postions by exploiting the various resources for economic diversification.
“The prospectus would highlight some of the new initiatives that have been adopted to bring about added value to the 2016 LITF,” she said.
According to her, the LITF, tagged “Positioning the Nigerian economy for diversification and sustainable growthhas over the years provided a platform for promoting and showcasing the abundant resources and numerous investment opportunities in the Nigerian economy.
“Let me assure the business community that we shall sustain and consolidate on these achievements by continuously providing better delivery of value to our customers,” she added.
She said the public presentation of the prospectus heralds the chamber’s preparedness for the 2016 fair and said it creates an opportunity for prospective exhibitors, sponsors, partners and participants to have an insight into its preparations.
Earlier, the Chairman, Trade Promotion Board, LCCI, Mr. Sola Oyetayo, said this year, the chamber shall be celebrating the 30th year since it took over the organisation of the fair from the federal government, saying that the event will be marked with exciting programmes.